We have a dog. She’s a six-pound, longhaired Chihuahua. How do you spell A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E? If you’re a dog lover, it’s hard not to adore Cinco at first sight. If she further blesses you with a sniff and offers the opportunity to pet her, the word L-O-V-E may even form in your mind.
If Cinco doesn’t like you—say you’re another four-legged bitch threatening her family, or she just doesn’t fancy the smell of you—you may find her yappy bark quite annoying. We get it. No one loves their dogs more than their owners. Some dog owners love their pets SO much they’re simply blind to anything that may cause others to be annoyed.
We used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. At the time, in the city of Berkeley, there wasn’t a STOP sign in town that didn’t have an additional message spray-painted below it. “STOP War;” “STOP Abuse;” “STOP Racism;” etc. Because of this, I remember not being the least bit surprised about finding graffiti on nearly every public sign in the East Bay. One I remember particularly well was in a public park. The sign read: “ALL DOGS MUST BE ON LEASH.” And the spray paint below it read: “This includes YOUR dog!”
So often people believe the rules don’t apply to them. Specifically in the case of dog owners, many are so sure their dog is the most well trained—the best-behaved dog ever—that a leash isn’t necessary. These are the same owners who simply don’t hear their dog barking incessantly at all hours of the day, whether they’re inside ignoring the barking, or away all day, neglecting the ‘best-behaved dog ever.’
As resort owners who happen to love dogs, we want to provide a facility that allows dogs. We’ve tried. Over the years, 17 to be exact, we’ve had to tweak the dog policy to make it work for us; however, I’ve come to believe no one reads policies in advance. They only read them after they leave, and only if they have a reason.
The reason would be, of course, because we kept the dog deposit.
We currently don’t charge for dogs. We only charge a deposit. The deposit is refundable, unless there are violations to our policy. I can count the number of times we’ve found it necessary to keep a dog deposit. Most—repeat MOST—owners are highly responsible in picking up after their pets. There is virtually no sign that a dog was on property, indoors or out, after they’ve left.
Unfortunately, there are and will always be exceptions. And it’s the less responsible dog owners that ruin it for the rest. When the offending dog owner further proclaims we are completely unfair or unjustified in keeping the deposit and goes as far as to issue threats such as: We’re never coming back and we’re telling ALL our friends to never go to Sandy Point;” well, we have to put them in our “People Can be Jerks” file and move on.
But it also means we have to change the policy. We simply don’t like being put in the same awkward/difficult situation more than twice and being the kind of people who learn from our experiences, we once again find the need to change our dog policy.
Yesterday I searched for websites of other resorts that allow dogs and nearly every one I found charges a fee. It costs us $150 to fly with Cinco (and there’s NO clean-up required by placing her soft crate under the seat in front of us). Every hotel we stay at for weekend soccer tournaments that actually allows dogs has a fee as well. So, our research has shown that Sandy Point is unique for two reasons: 1. It still allows pets and 2. It doesn’t charge a fee.
Time to get with the program.
We only allow dogs in the shoulder/off-seasons. This will still be the case. But now there will be a fee in ADDITION to the damage deposit. We don’t want owners to think just because they’re paying for the privilege of bringing their dog that they don’t have to clean up after their best friend as well.
And if we feel the need to keep the cleaning/damage deposit, I guarantee you, we are justified in doing so. If it means you’ll never come back to Sandy Point with your barking, shedding, clawing dogs . . . good.